Avoiding the Cliches of Grief by Online Ministries at Creighton University
Cliché: “You must be strong for your children (spouse, relatives, friends, etc).”
Instead, try: Why not share your feelings with your children? Perhaps you can lean on one another and help support each other.
Cliché: “You’ve got to get hold of yourself.”
Instead, try: “It must be so hard to keep going when you’re hurting so much.”
Cliché: “You are holding up so well.”
Instead, try: “Would it help to talk about how you’re feeling?”
Cliché: “Time will heal.”
Instead, try: “You must feel as if this pain will never end.”
Cliché: “You’re young, and you will be able to make a new life for yourself.”
Instead, try: “You must miss your loved one and the life you had together; I do, too.”
What to Say What Not to Say
I’m sorry. I understand how you feel.
I’m sad for you. Death was a blessing.
How are you doing with all this? It was God’s will.
I don’t know why it happened. It all happened for the best.
What can I do for you? You’re still young.
I’m here and I want to listen. You have your whole life ahead of you.
Please tell me what you are feeling. You can have other children.
This must be hard for you. You can always remarry.
What’s the hardest part for you? Call me when I can help.
I’ll call tomorrow. Something good will come of this.
You must really be hurting. At least you have another child.
It isn’t fair, is it? She/he led a full life.
You must really feel angry. It’s time to put it behind you.
Take all the time you need. Be strong!
Courtesy, Archdiocese of Omaha, Family Life Office
From the Online Ministries at Creighton University
Online Ministries Grief Home Page